Crozier artist ‘rocks’ on

After years of creating acrylic paintings on canvas, Crozier artist Pam Brandrick is now rushing to keep up with demand for her latest venture–rock paintings.
What began as an interesting sideline to her acrylic works has become a full-time job as Brandrick has painted hundreds of pictures on flat stones from this edge of the Canadian Shield.
“It was right after the Fine Line Art Gallery opened up. I needed something small and it was just supposed to be a little novelty sideline thing,” Brandrick said last Wednesday from her home on Forsythe Lane off Highway 11/71.
“Now they are all over the world,” she remarked.
Sitting in her living room, Brandrick and her husband are surrounded by canvasses she has painted over the years.
But at her work table in the corner of the room, there is evidence that the stone painting has taken over as many of the stones–in different shapes and sizes–lay at different stages of being painted.
Brandrick has painted pretty much everything on rocks, including scenery, children, wild animals, cars, buildings, flowers, butterflies, and grandparents.
She uses photographs as models and puts people’s memories on solid stone.
Lately, after being “discovered” by local Arabian horse breeder Joanne Ogden, Brandrick has had steady requests from horse lovers in Canada, the U.S., and even Europe to have their horses painted on stone.
“Usually somebody needs them and I usually get them done just before they need them–just like any artist,” she noted.
She currently is planning to do some paintings to accompany a horse that is being shipped to Denmark later this year.
Brandrick said she enjoys the challenge painting on stone can offer. “You have to work with the rock. It isn’t always flat and the colour of the rock changes the colour of the paint,” she remarked.
“And you go through a lot of brushes,” she laughed.
Each rock can take anywhere from a couple of days to two months for Brandrick to complete as she works with the colour and shape it offers.
“Sometimes you can make the rock work with the picture the way you never could with a canvas,” she explained.
The way Brandrick works with the natural bumps and lines on the stones is what caught Ogden’s eye and prompted her to begin spreading them throughout the horse-breeding community.
Ogden still has one of the first pieces of Brandrick’s work that caught her eye. “It looked 3-D, it had ridges where they were supposed to be on the horse,” she noted. “We had four rocks painted of the same horse.”
As she works to meet a longer and longer waiting list of clientele, Brandrick has made rock-painting her full-time job–at times not even noticing the day go by.
“It’s sort of like that. Sometimes I have to pull her away for her own good,” said her husband, Jess.
Brandrick has a steady supply of flat stones collected by her parents and others who have seen her work but, from time to time, she returns to the comfort of the canvas.
“After painting rock after rock, it’s nice to do a canvas,” she admitted.
Brandrick has been painting all her life and decided to become a full-time artist in 1982. Her work currently is on display at the Fine Line Art Gallery on Mowat Avenue here and some other community galleries.
She plans on hosting a open house art show along with other artists at her Crozier home Sept. 22.